The move was announced at the Autumn Statement and includes an allowance of £15,000 for businesses to offset against the levy.
As a result, chancellor George Osborne claims this will mean all organisations with a wage bill of up to £3m (more than 98% of firms) will be exempt from the charge.
Delivering the Autumn Statement, Osborne said: "To ensure large businesses share the cost of training the workforce, I announced at the Budget that we will introduce a new apprenticeship levy from April 2017.
"Today I am setting the rate at 0.5% of an employer's paybill.
"Britain's apprenticeship levy will raise £3bn a year. It will fund three million apprenticeships. With those paying it able to get out more than they put in," he added.
It is estimated that firms with around 210 or more full time equivalent employees earning the minimum legal wage for over 25s of £7.20 next April, will be drawn into the scheme.